Wednesday, 20 April 2022 14:23

Wyoming Trade Schools See Boom in Enrollment

Written by Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily


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Trade schools in Wyoming and nationally are seeing a boom in enrollment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The operators of several Wyoming programs that train students for work in trades such as automotive and welding told Cowboy State Daily their enrollment numbers have skyrocketed over the last two years, with more and more people becoming interested in hands-on work that doesn’t require a four-year college degree.


Western Welding Academy


Western Welding Academy in Gillette only launched in late 2019, but has managed to increase its enrollment by more than 1,000% since then.


“When we started, we only had around eight students, but now, we have about 150,” welding instructor Danny Kiederling told Cowboy State Daily. “It’s a smaller campus, but if you look at the last two years, that’s a pretty big increase in quality of product.”


The majority of WWA’s courses last anywhere from five to seven weeks, although its most popular course, professional pipe welding, lasts six months.


Kierderling said he believes more people are turning to trade schools because they allow for a shorter time in school and larger paychecks after graduation.


“We have one student who did really well here and he holds the record for being a Western Welding Academy student who has brought home the biggest paycheck so far, $7,800 for one week,” he said. “He’s 19 years old. I think people are getting wise to that. There’s only so many lawyers you can have, but America runs on blue collar people who works with their hands.”


With nationwide shortages in trade workers and skilled laborers across the board, students essentially have their pick of jobs once they get out of trade school, operators of the schools said.




WyoTech, an automotive trade school in Laramie, was on the brink of bankruptcy when it was...

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